In our home, we are striving to teach our children responsibility over the expression of their emotions. So this week is our “No Matter What” week.
Take a look at this picture.
We are teaching the children how to have a beautiful heart by growing up to own and be responsible for the way they respond to things thrown at them in their life.
We are not teaching them to hide their ill feelings if someone does something mean. But to learn to handle it in a godly way.
These are our No Matter What motto.
No matter what others do, I will be godly ( no blaming others for my misbehavior)
No matter what others say, I will still love them.
No matter if they take away, I will still give.
I will be a peace maker, I will be patient.
I am trying to teach the children that we are responsible for our responses to anything mean that is said or done to us. I am stopping the “victim” mentality and teaching the children that they are equally responsible for their responses.
Now, do they get it when I stop them from saying “Its because he did it first…” and turn their focus towards their responsibility to be godly no matter what?
Nope, they don’t get it. But I do it no matter what. Because I am forming pathways in their brain, in their thinking, every time, I make them stop and help them think biblically. I am slowly establishing a pattern in their thinking. It will take years, but one day without me around and by the grace of God, these children will stop before they utter “But he did it first…..” and learn to think “What can I do to reflect God in this situation?” If that happens, I have done my job by grace.
Is not that what the bible meant when it says, ” Train up a child in the way he should go….” Proverbs 22:6
I am trying to make the children understand that this is not a perfect world we live in. Life won’t go the way we imagine it would. There will be disappointments. It will not always be a fair game. You will suffer injustice. You will suffer for your sins. Sometimes, you will pay for some one else’s sin.
In the midst of all these you are still called to reflect the nature of God. You are called to put the gospel of God on display.
At this very small age I need to break it down into what they battle with now. How to put aside selfishness and sense of entitlement in them, is what I am thinking when I am washing dishes. This list is not exhaustive, but to begin with these are what I have come up with…
1)No tattle telling. Tattle telling encourages victim mentality. Instead, I encourage them to inform me the 3 B’s and the double D
3B’s- Barfing, Bleeding, Broken
I ask the child that is tattle telling;
Is your brother/sister barfing?
Is your brother/sister bleeding?
Is your brother/ sister going to break something?
Double D- Dangerous, destructive
Is your brother/ sister going to do something dangerous or destructive?
It takes time for the kids to learn the 3 B’s and the double D. Mean while I will remind them and go over with every situation the 3 B’s and the double D and help them to see if it has to be discarded or gets my attention.
2)Teach proper way to Handle Conflicts. When they are upset over something, help them to understand their emotions and help them to handle it or cope with it in a near mature way.
*Take a deep breath
* Acknowledge your emotions in a respectful way using an I feel ——-, when you —— statement.
*Take a deep breath
* Express your wish in a respectful way using a I wish ——— statement.
*Take a deep Breath
* Remove the sense of entitlement or victim mentality using No matter what, I am called to respond in ——–statement.
(BTW, three deep breaths have the power to start you to calm down- studies say.)
*Pray and ask God for grace to respond with ———
*Move on to something purposeful.
3) Pick a non confrontational time to teach appropriate behavior.
In the midst of the conflict when the emotions are raging is not the best time to teach them I feel or I wish statement. Rather it is at a peaceful time in a joyful way.
When we are playing, I will go over different mock situations with them to teach them how to implement proper handling of conflicts.
Later on, in real life, I will stop them on their tracks when caught with sinful responses and walk them thru the ideal.
4) Model everything in our own lives.
This is perhaps the most difficult step. I am not perfect here. There are times when all I want to do is yell or scream because the commotion was so high that I couldn’t hear myself thinking. There are also new scenarios arising in my life every now and then that I don’t know how to respond. I need to depend a lot on God’s grace to pull through some difficult seasons in my life. I have sin ruling in my life in some areas that I don’t have the power sometimes to do the right thing. No matter what I am still called to try. I will never make it right all the time. But, I am called to try and keep on trying. God gives me grace when I fall and knowing that helps me give grace to the children when they don’t get it right all the time.
What about you? Do you think its time to be responsible for your responses no matter what has been done to you?